Emirates has become the latest airline to extend its inflight wifi capabilities, joining the likes of Singapore Airlines, Delta and Etihad in offering free internet access and inflight messaging to passengers.
The Dubai-based carrier recently upgraded its inflight connectivity to provide “some form of free connectivity” to passengers in every cabin class as long as they sign up to its Skywards loyalty programme.
First class passengers have unlimited free internet access if they are Skywards members, and so do Silver, Gold and Platinum Skywards members travelling in business class. Platinum Skywards members have complimentary internet access in all classes.
The latest upgrade was rolled out in January and, according to the carrier, has resulted in an additional 30,000 economy class passengers connecting to free onboard wifi every week, and an average of 450,000 users per month – representing a 30 per cent increase compared to the same period last year.
Currently almost 10 per cent of all passengers use the complimentary service to stay connected. On routes through the Americas almost 20 per cent of passengers connect to wifi onboard, while on European and Africa routes usage is more than 11 per cent of all passengers.
Patrick Brannelly, SVP retail, IFE and connectivity at Emirates, said the carrier has “persistently worked” with service providers to “optimise and improve the connectivity experience” following investments of more than US$300 million.
“In March we delivered about 55 per cent more data per customer session compared to early 2022 despite the number of sessions increasing by 68 per cent in the same period. We will continue to work to invest in upgrades and enhancements,” he added.
Emirates said it will also offer high-speed inflight satellite connectivity onboard its 50 new Airbus A350 aircraft, which are scheduled to enter service in 2024.